9 IKEA MALM Bed Hacks to Upgrade Your Sleeping Space

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An Ikea malm bed with white and black geometric designs.

There seems to be a clear divide between those pro-headboard and those pro-blank space behind the bed. But we think every bedroom really needs a focal point, and often, a headboard becomes just that.

Whether you’re a fan of something more alternative, something more boho, or a DIY headboard that really makes a statement, you can pull it off when you create your own with an IKEA MALM bed hack.  The IKEA MALM is an affordable, simple, and unassuming bed frame with headboard that’s become a popular platform for IKEA hacks

(Image credit: IKEA)

Above is the unadulterated version of the MALM shown in oak veneer (also available in white, black-brown, and stained ash as well as with a storage drawer option). For $349 for a queen size, it’s easy to see why this basic bed is a popular DIY option. Keep reading for some of our favorite IKEA MALM bed hacks. 

1. Add DIY Tufted Boards

A few wooden boards covered in batting and wrapped in velvet are all you need to upgrade your basic MALM bed into a luxurious sleeping space. Best of all? You can do it yourself for only $70.

2. Embellish it with wainscoting.

The timeless elegance of wainscoting can bring a MALM bed from basic to brilliant. The Sorry Girls were even kind enough to give the exact measurements of the wainscoting pieces they used for those who want to follow in their DIY footsteps.

3. Cover it with reclaimed wood.

Let’s start with a simple, modern makeover that’s sure to warm up any room (above). Ashley over on Sugar & Cloth started with a MALM headboard and added Stikwood (in reclaimed barrel oak) on top for an easy hack.

4. Use vinyl planks for a weathered look.

Maybe modern isn’t your thing. Then you’ll love this more rustic hack, covering the headboard and frame in gray wood vinyl planks. You can catch a helpful video over on Hester’s Handmade Home.

5. Give it a Scandi vibe.

Go full Scandinavian by fitting a raw wood plank, cut-to-size of course, on top of the MALM. The planks can be attached with corner braces. See more over on wohngoldstuek.de.

Credit: DIY Feels

6. Incorporate a chevron pattern.

Create a cool wooden chevron pattern out of a MALM headboard for a dressed-up look, like the one shown here on the DIY Feels website. You’ll get a different vibe depending on the wood tone you select; opt for a light tone for an airy, minimalist look, a medium tone for a rustic vibe, or a super dark tone for a stately, modern look. Either way, we’re obsessed with this clever MALM bed hack.

Credit: IKEA

7. Cop this luxe tufted look.

For a more luxe look, you can check out IKEA’s own channel tufting hack, featuring a DIY sleeve made from IKEA curtains, with foam inserts for extra comfort.

8. Add a layer of upholstery.

Another cushy option, this DIY upholstered headboard hack from Place of My Taste uses the MALM as the headboard base. By adding additional plywood, you can get the look of a more grandiose bedroom. Grab your favorite fabric, some batting, and a staple gun to finish it off.

9. Slip on a fabric slipcover.

Looking for a super simple Malm bed hack? You can always use your fabric to create a simple sleeve that fits over your headboard, as seen on Merriment Design. And when you’re sick of the pattern, trade it out for a bedroom refresh!